Don’t complain the next time you get a ticket because of a red light camera. According to a new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the U.S., that piece of equipment could save your life.â€¨â€¨
If you still dismiss the cameras as a money grab, consider this: the institute claims their research shows the cameras have already saved 159 lives between 2004 and 2008 in 14 large U.S. cities. The data was gathered by comparing red light crashes in 99 cities over two time periods, the first between 1992-1996, the latter between 2004-2008.
The study was intended to show the effect on traffic fatalities at intersections after cameras were introduced, so cities that had red light cameras in the earlier time period were excluded, as well as cities that only had cameras for part of the later time period.
In the 14 cities that had red light cameras starting in 2004, the combined per capita rate of fatalities caused by red light runners dropped 35 per cent compared to the earlier time period, while in the cities that had no cameras, red light fatalities fell by only 14 per cent.
This led researchers to claim a 24 per cent decrease in fatalities at red light intersections after the cameras were installed. â€¨â€¨Based on their numbers, the IIHS says that had the red light cameras been installed in every city studied over the 2004-2008 period, 815 lives could have been saved.
Cities with red light cameras also saw a 14 percent decrease in
fatalities at all traffic light intersections (not just those with
cameras), compared to a two per cent increase in cities without cameras.
We regard red light cameras as true safety features, unlike speed cameras which are purely a money grab. You gotta wonder just how much safer a city like Montreal would be — where red light running is epidemic — if red light cameras were installed at intersections.
According to the IIHS, 676 people were killed and 113,000 were injured in the U.S. in 2009 because of red light running. Of course, the IIHS has a vested interest in any reduction in vehicle accidents, but as motorcyclists, so do we.